Seven degrees of Israel tech boycott

Seven degrees of Israel tech boycott

Summary: I'm all for boycotting companies that go against my ethical principles but I really don't think that Marrickville Council thought about all the technology that is linked with Israel before deciding to boycott goods and services related to the country.


I'm all for boycotting companies that go against my ethical principles but I really don't think that Marrickville Council thought about all the technology that is linked with Israel before deciding to boycott goods and services related to the country.

In a motion passed in December last year, Marrickville Council joined the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) campaign (PDF) boycotting all goods and services made in Israel, in protest of the Israeli government's occupation of Palestinian land.

Boycotts are an excellent way to send a message to people you perceive as doing something wrong. I stopped getting Gloria Jean's coffee in 2004 when I found out that the company was supporting an anti-abortion group known as Mercy Ministries.

But calling for a boycott of absolutely everything a nation such as Israel produces is just absurd, and really not thought through when you think of all the tech that comes from Israel.

As others have pointed out yesterday, all Hewlett-Packard (HP) computers would have to be removed from all council premises, but the council might have to go even further than that. IBM has a research facility in Israel that looks at cloud computing, and Intel has a factory based in Israel, too. So just to be safe, Marrickville Council will have to avoid every single IBM cloud-based initiative and rip open every computer — HP or not — to make sure that their computer doesn't have Intel inside.

It's just illogical and serves no real benefit for residents other than giving the council a warm fuzzy feeling that their conscience is clean.

When I asked Marrickville Council if it intended to rip out all the Intel chips from its computers as part of the boycott, the council directed me back to the motion on the council's website and declined to comment.

In any case, I agree with NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd. The council needs to be less concerned with its international social battles and instead worry about what's in the best interest of its residents. And banning HP, Intel and IBM is not the best way to go.

Topics: IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Josh, So you think killing a foetus is OK. A fetous also experience pain like we do. Any how would you feel if you were a feotus at 7 weeks when your maternal mum decided to abort. Think about it...
    • I support a woman's right to make a decision about their own body.

      But that's going off topic from the discussion at hand.
      Josh Taylor
      • If a woman doesn't want a baby, she should avoid it a little bit higher up the chain, if you get the drift.
        • Because birth control is 100% effective right?
      • If it's OT, why mention it in your article?

        And the Israeli settlements breach International (and even their own) law, so it's not "perceived", it's a fact...
    • If I were a fetus at seven weeks I'd hope I'd realise that I'm developmentally two weeks early.
  • HP recently treated its Australian channel partners to a trip to the United Arab Emirates, a country which has no diplomatic relations with Israel. Interesting to see that the UAE was happy to take in the tourism dollar from HP. Marrickville Council goes further in its boycott and divestment strategy of Israel than the glitz cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi!
  • "Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, two Israeli developers at the Technion IIT, rewrote the parser in 1997 and formed the base of PHP 3, changing the language's name to the recursive initialism PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.[7] Afterwards, public testing of PHP 3 began, and the official launch came in June 1998. Suraski and Gutmans then started a new rewrite of PHP's core, producing the Zend Engine in 1999.[10] They also founded Zend Technologies in Ramat Gan, Israel."

    Now look at: and other emergency services in NSW - including some that Marrickville Council uses. I hope they will cease and desist using all PHP based services, and while they are at it, rip out the MRI machine in the local hospital.
  • Personally, I think the council is doing the right, and mature, thing by not buying goods from a country acting illegally ( ).

    But I also have no problem with Israel beyond their illegal settlements, so peaceful protests like the BDS are spot on IMHO.
    • The issue here is that someone (a council) has made a blanket decision based on a perceived moralistic viewpoint. They haven't rationally looked at the impact of this decisions (ignoring the moral element).

      In essence, the decision they have made has far reaching implications that they haven't thought through. They can neither afford to implement or maintain their moral position whilst achieving their primary role (being a council).

      This isn't an issue specifically about Israel, but an issue of balancing ones moral position with the job they are employed to do.

      Anyone who wants to go on about Israel or anti-abortion is intentionally missing the point and simply using this as an excuse to push their viewpoint down our throats.
      Scott W-ef9ad
      • Interesting argument, though your trying to obfuscate it by bring in morals, where the council has simply chosen not to do business with international criminals (though I've heard it's common practice with some governments in NSW).